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taking off masks


by JD Davis November 2004

Part III

“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?” James A Baldwin

Brian struggled and resisted as Stuart kissed him roughly, but Stuart had always been the stronger of the two, and he refused to let go. As their mouths battled, Brian finally gasped for breath: Stuart’s tongue slipped inside and everything changed. Stuart gentled the kiss, his hands sliding up to cradle Brian’s face as he explored the wet heat, nibbling at his lower lip, laying small pecks over his cheeks and chin before reclaiming his mouth. Brian relaxed into the embrace, delighting in the intimacy, then he regained his senses and pulled away.

“What the hell was that?” he demanded. Without a second thought he lashed out, sending Stuart crashing to the ground. Stuart retaliated by sweeping his feet from under him and they struggled for several minutes before Stuart managed to pin Brian’s thrashing limbs beneath him.

Brian felt the weight and heat crushing him and his desire soared even as he struggled. He felt himself growing hard and fought furiously to get away so that Stuart wouldn’t notice.

“Let go of me, you bastard!” he yelled, trying desperately to free himself.

“No, Brian, no! Please, stop. Will you stop! Just listen for a second!”

“You have no right,” Brian yelled and with a mighty effort he pushed Stuart away and got to his feet. “I don’t want this! Christ, I don’t want any of this!

His angry words died on his lips as he looked at Stuart, who had doubled over, his arms wrapped around his middle.

“Shit, Stuart, did I hurt you?” he asked frantically. Stuart shook his head, unable to speak as tears poured unheeded down his cheeks and he sobbed pitifully, gasping for breath as he released months of pent up emotion. Brian hesitated for a long while but seeing Stuart in such distress finally became too much for him, and he gathered his friend into his arms.

“It’s okay,” he said soothingly, his hand rubbing Stuart’s back in gentle circles. “It’s okay, Stuart, there’s no need for this. Come on, buddy, stop now, don’t, please.” He felt tears stinging the back of his eyes as Stuart struggled to regain his composure. Myriad thoughts darted through his mind as he tried to comfort his distraught friend: he was not the only one who had been hurt. Stuart’s obvious distress was a more telling argument than any words.

He tugged and pushed his friend towards a large tree and finally sank to the ground, his back against the trunk, Stuart held firmly in his arms. Cradling his head on his shoulder, Brian murmured softly, not even sure what he was saying. Stuart finally quieted and pulled back a little. He sniffed and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand in a childlike gesture and Brian’s heart failed at the sight. All the anger and hurt he had been feeling disappeared and the overpowering love he felt swept through him.

“I’m s-such an i-idiot,” Stuart finally said, his voice catching on suppressed sobs.

“Yes, you are,” Brian replied lovingly, smiling at his friend. Stuart scrubbed his hands over his face and looked around, checking that no one could see them.

“Well, that was – “ He groped for an appropriate word.

“Cathartic?” Brian suggested helpfully.


Brian snorted with laughter and Stuart responded with a watery grin. They looked at each other and a fragile peace descended between them. The pain of the last few months faded temporarily as they picked up their old familiar camaraderie. Stuart shifted to rest his back against the tree trunk beside Brian, their shoulders touching.

“We have a lot to talk about,” Stuart finally said.

“Still the master of understatement, I see! Stuart, this is just so confusing, I can’t seem to get a handle on any of it. What is going on with you? What the hell were you thinking, kissing me like that?”

Stuart remained silent, merely looking intently at his friend. Brian saw sorrow and pain there; he also saw love and a spark of desire.


“I don’t know anything anymore, Brian. I’m not sure I’m gay. All I know for sure is that I love with you.”

“This isn’t some giant hoax, is it? ‘Cos I’m telling you right now, I’ll kill you if you’re setting me up!” Stuart grabbed him by the shoulders and gave him a quick, hard shake.

“No, no, don’t go off again, Brian. I mean – what I’m trying to say – shit, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say!” Brian managed a faint smile.

“Not as straight as you thought?”

“Apparently not, but Brian, I don’t get it – any of it! I’m not attracted to men at all!” As Brian pulled a face, Stuart hastily revised his last statement. “Well, except for you, of course! I did some research – don’t laugh! – and none of what I read makes sense to me. Nor do you, to be perfectly honest. Christ, Brian, we used to double date together! You seemed to like women as much as I did, and then, out of the blue, you announce to me that you love me, that you are in love with me! I have to admit I’m confused. You confuse me.”

“So you’re not attracted to men – except me, of course – so you’re not gay, is that what you’re saying?” Stuart frowned at Brian’s sarcasm and cast around for words to explain his muddled thinking.

“Brian, all I know is that I missed you when you disappeared. I realized how much I cared for you. For a long time I thought it was just the ‘best friends’ thing. Now I know it’s more than that, although I’m not sure how much more or even what more! Honestly, some of the stuff I’ve read scares the shit out of me! Besides, unless I’m mistaken, or you’ve been lying to me all this time, you didn’t know much more than I did until a few months ago.” Their was an uneasy silence, then Brian shrugged and said,

“You’re not mistaken, Stuart. I had a hard time figuring out the way I felt about you. It took me a long time before I could tell you and, when I did . . .”

“I blew you off!”

“I wish!” Brian’s quick rejoinder made them both laugh and they relaxed. Stuart shook his head and said,

“Well, I guess making jokes about it is an improvement.”

“Anything is an improvement!”

“Be serious, you idiot!” Stuart sucked in a deep breath. “Brian, I really don’t know what I’m getting myself into here. Other men don’t attract me, just you. From my research, I would say that makes me bi-sexual but I haven’t felt anything for a woman for a long time. Maybe I’m just ‘Bri-sexual’. You seem to take up all my thoughts these days and I’ve found myself wondering . . .” Stuart paused and felt a hot blush creep up his face. “I think about you when I jerk off,” he admitted. “I got hard when I kissed you just now. I was hard when we were rolling around on the ground, for God’s sake! I can’t deny the evidence any longer, Brian; I’m sexually attracted to you. I’ve always cared about you so, logically, that has to mean that I’m in love with you.”

There was a long silence. Stuart fidgeted and looked anywhere other than at Brian, desperately waiting for his reaction. As Brian failed to respond, Stuart finally lost patience.

“For heaven’s sake, say something!” he exploded. Instead, Brian got up and held out his hand to Stuart.

“Come on,” he said, hauling his friend to his feet and dragging him along.

“What? Where? Brian, stop!” Brian came to a halt and looked at Stuart in exasperation.

“Stuart, you’ve just told me you’re in love with me. Everything I’ve ever wanted is right here in front of me but, if you think for one minute we’re going to do anything about this in the park, you’ve got another think coming!”

“Do what?” Stuart squeaked in horror. “Whoa, wait a minute!”

“We’re going to my apartment,” Brian said softly. “Don’t worry; I’m not going to fuck you, if that’s what you’re thinking! I just want some privacy so we can figure this out.” Brian studied Stuart, watching the play of emotions on his face. Surprise, confusion, fear were all reflected there, but there was no mistaking the bulge in his jeans.

“Don’t you want to?”

Stuart sighed and nodded.

“Oh yes.”

* * * * * * * *

Brian had a new apartment down town. Stuart surveyed the area with interest, surprised Brian had chosen a modern building. When Brian opened the door, however, he felt right at home. The usual chaotic mess met his gaze. The stark white walls and clean lines had disappeared under Brian’s familiar clutter.

“Come on in,” Brian called over his shoulder, heading towards the kitchen. “Grab a seat. Want a beer?”

“Sure.” Their old familiar routine settled comfortably around Stuart and his nervousness faded as he shrugged off his jacket and collapsed on the couch. This was Brian, his best friend, his old drinking buddy. This was Brian, his new boyfriend, his would-be lover! Stuart swallowed hard as his nervousness returned with a vengeance.

“Stop panicking!” Brian’s voice sounded close to his ear, making Stuart jump. A bottle of beer was thrust in front of him as Brian leaned over his shoulder. Stuart grabbed the beer and chugged half of it in an attempt to calm himself down. Perhaps alcohol was the answer!

“Go easy,” Brian warned. “I don’t want you getting drunk and then persuading yourself that you weren’t in control.”

“I wouldn’t . . .”

“Yes, you would! I know you, Stuart, and that’s exactly the sort of thing you’d do!”

Brian sat down beside Stuart, close but not touching him. He took the beer from Stuart’s hand and placed it with his own on the coffee table. Turning to face Stuart, Brian reached up and gently caressed his cheek.

“I love you, Stuart,” he said softly. “I want you in my life and, yes, in my bed, but what I don’t want is you doing anything out of a misplaced sense of guilt.”

“I’m not doing anything out of guilt!” Stuart retorted.

“So you don’t feel guilty about how you treated me?”

“No – yes, of course I do! All I’m saying is it’s not guilt, not this.” He leaned into Brian’s touch, but Brian moved his hand away.

“Are you sure? Really sure? Because I feel terribly guilty right now.”

“Why would you feel guilty?”

“Because maybe taking off the way I did wasn’t fair to you: because maybe I’ve blackmailed you into this.”

“That’s ridiculous!”

“Is it? If I hadn’t disappeared would we be having this conversation right now?”

Stuart thought about it.

“I called you, remember, that same night. I was worried about you and I wanted to apologize but you didn’t give me the chance!”

“I remember, and I’m sorry for that. But if we’d talked then would you have told me you were in love with me?”

“No, not then,” Stuart admitted. “I told you, I needed time to process everything. Well, I’ve had plenty of time and I’m sure now. I love you, Brian.”

Brian’s face lit up with a dazzling smile and Stuart felt a surge of desire. He leaned forward and brushed his lips across Brian’s; a gentle, butterfly kiss. Brian responded by pulling him closer, deepening the kiss until they had to break away, gasping for breath. Stuart was dazed by his reaction to the kiss and submitted unresistingly as Brian pulled at his shirt, tugging it upwards so his hands and lips could caress Stuart’s naked flesh.

Totally overwhelmed by the sensations flooding through him, Stuart wanted nothing more than to feel Brian. Clumsily, they pulled and fiddled and dragged at each other’s clothing until they were naked, Stuart stretched out on the couch with Brian half on top of him. Dazed and almost delirious, they stroked and kissed, licked, nibbled, caressed every inch of skin within reach. Then Brian shifted his weight slightly and his erection slid over Stuart’s. They both froze, holding their breath as their nerve endings blazed with the frisson of the contact. Brian watched the expression on Stuart’s face as he moved again, aligning their cocks so that the slightest twitch shivered through both of them. Stuart’s eyes were dark with lust, his mouth slightly open in an ‘oh’ of surprise at the sensations roiling through him. He groaned softly and his arms wrapped themselves around Brian, locking him in place.

They rocked together, gently at first, reveling in the discovery of each new sensation. As their desire increased so did their rhythm and sweat beaded and rolled down their bodies, making the contact slick and easy. It was too much. The anguish, the anticipation, the fight, the raw emotion, the rapidly rising lust defeated them both. Stuart came with a howl, his semen spurting hot and sticky between them, splattering over Brian’s stomach and chest. This sent Brian over the edge and his orgasm ripped through him before he collapsed onto Stuart, shuddering uncontrollably.

They stayed in a tangled heap for several minutes as their breathing calmed until Stuart shifted with a grunt.

“You’re heavy,” he muttered, wriggling to get comfortable. Brian snuggled into him, butting his head under Stuart’s chin before settling against his shoulder. Stuart obliging wrapped his arm around him and held him close, feeling his friend’s heartbeat against his chest. Lulled by the gentle rhythm and exhausted by the day’s events, he slipped into a dreamless sleep, content and relaxed for the first time in three months.

© j.d. davis 2004